Academic Innovation Fund

Designing the future of learning with the University of Michigan Community

2014

Established in 2014, the AIF enables the Center for Academic Innovation to provide financial and in-kind support for the purpose of growing a culture of innovation on campus

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Initiatives across all 19 Schools & Colleges have been developed leveraging the AIF. Collectively, these have reached 90% of current U-M undergraduates, and nearly 4 million global learners.

What is the Academic Innovation Fund?

Established in 2014, the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) gives the University of Michigan community access to financial and in-kind support from the Center for Academic Innovation (CAI). The Center stewards the AIF with the goal of facilitating the creation, growth, and research of engaged and inclusive educational experiences.

Purpose

The AIF helps our partners build new technology, develop engaging and interdisciplinary content, design more flexible and personalized learning experiences informed by data, and host events and communities that bring thought leaders together. We develop projects that

    • extend academic excellence, 
    • expand the University of Michigan’s public purpose, and 
    • foster equity and inclusivity in higher education.

Rolling Proposals

Proposals to the Academic Innovation Fund are accepted on a rolling basis. The proposal process begins with a consultation about the problem you are trying to solve, after which projects that are aligned with the goals and mission of the CAI are invited to submit a formal proposal. The criteria by which proposals are evaluated include: 

    • contribution to the culture of innovation in learning on campus
    • type and scale of problem being addressed 
    • degree of innovation proposed
    • alignment with campus priorities and initiatives
    • support for equity and inclusivity in higher education

Open & Upcoming Calls

Each call for proposals (CfP) has its own eligibility and selection criteria as well as its own proposal process. The near-term calls for proposals include:

Research Quick-Wins: – Proposals due: October 1

The Center for Academic Innovation invites University of Michigan faculty and students to apply for a “Quick Win” research grant to support small-scale projects on special topics in the areas of higher education and academic innovation. Proposals should consider how the focus of the work aligns with Academic Innovation initiatives and key priorities, and discuss how outcomes will complement ongoing work at the Center. Full details here.

Online Learning Experiences – Proposals due: October 31

Join the Center for Academic Innovation as we work to create, preserve, and open access to the University of Michigan’s diverse wealth of knowledge and expertise.  Through our faculty partnerships and the development of open online content, we help millions learn new skills and competencies, highlight and amplify emerging research and ideas, and develop new pedagogies and practices at-scale.  We invite faculty to submit proposals to partner with us and develop short open online-mini courses that appeal to personal interests or just-in-time professional development, as well as MOOC specializations that provide more intensive, real-world professional skill-building. Full details here.

Expanding Equity & Inclusivity – Rolling, Call Released September 14

What is a socially just university? As scholars across campus explore this question this Fall, the Center for Academic Innovation is issuing a call for proposals for projects that explore the role innovation can play in creating a socially just university. We invite proposals aligned with our missions of:

    • Supporting diverse learners, both online and in residence,
    • Creating inclusive and equitable learning experiences, and
    • Creating connections between the university and diverse publics.

Projects will be expected to fall into at least one of the following broad categories: creation, investigation, or adoption/adaption. All faculty and full time regular staff appointed on the Ann Arbor campus are eligible to respond to the call. Details of this call will be released on September 14th, and proposals will be accepted on on a rolling basis over the course of the semester.

Online & Hybrid Programs – Proposals Due: December 2 

Join the Center for Academic Innovation as we work to remove barriers of access to exceptional U-M learning experiences and to consider new approaches to engaging with learners at different stages of life and career. We encourage academic units to embrace strategic rebundling of content and the creation of program portfolios that leverage our strengths in graduate education so we can explore new opportunities and new modes of learning and engagement. We invite academic units to submit proposals to partner with us to develop a fully online or hybrid degree program that is part of degree program portfolio. Strong proposals will identify opportunities where the degree program can be combined with open content to create a variety of pathways for learners to engage as part of the Michigan community. Proposals will be accepted throughout the fall semester on a rolling basis until December 2nd; academic units will have additional opportunities to propose a program in the winter semester.

Current Priorities

  • Diversifying the disciplinary mix of offerings in our online learning experiences
  • Integrating online content and innovative technologies into the residential learning experience.
  • Experimenting with translating high-touch teaching practices, like apprenticeships and learning communities, into online learning experiences
  • Exploring new models for alumni learning
  • Creating new learning experiences and educational models that support learners’ skill acquisition, accounting for the shifts in the nature of work
  • Increasing access to and affordability of higher education
  • Creating conversations and opportunities for learning and knowledge exchange between U-M scholars and community experts
  • Exploring opportunities for students to become creators of learning experiences

Get Started

To begin the proposal process for the rolling AIF, please use the form below to tell us a little bit about the problem you are trying to solve. Within a week of receiving your request, a CAI staff member will reach out to schedule a consultation. If you are interested in applying to one of the themed calls for proposals, please follow the procedures outlined on the page for that call.

Setup a Consultation

To begin the proposal process for the general Academic Innovation Fund, please use the form below to tell us a little bit about the problem you are trying to solve. Within a week of receiving your request, a CAI staff member will reach out to schedule a consultation. If you are interested in applying to one of the themed calls for proposals, please follow the procedures outlined on the page for that call.